EPA Certification can be a tremendous help to the user that is evaluating new cleaning processes.
Let�s face it, if it wasn�t for the Earth�s ozone layer, everyone would still be using CFCs and a vapor degreaser to clean stencils, PCBs, tooling and just about anything else used in industry. Assemblers didn�t want to change their cleaning processes - the regulating agencies forced the change. Unfortunately, users were only told what not to use. It was up to the user to search for a new chemistry, a new machine and a new waste treatment process. Often times, the new cleaning process did not meet other environmental or user safety regulations and the search was on once again. It was not uncommon to see assemblers change their cleaning and/or waste treatment process 2, 3 or more times in the 1990s.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and some state EPA�s such as the California EPA have introduced programs to proactively evaluate the environmental safety, user safety and efficacy of stencil cleaning processes. The Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program of the U.S. EPA evaluates the cleaning process for environmental and user safety regulations and verifies that all of the manufacturers efficacy claims are true and correct. The California EPA will actually Certify the stencil cleaning process to assure the user of environmental and user safety compliance.
Now, assemblers no longer need to �reinvent the wheel� when it comes time to make a process change. By selecting a process that is EPA Certified, they have third party documentation that the process is environmentally safe, user safe and effective.
You can learn more about EPA Certification and Verification Programs at the EPA�s Website: http://www.epa.gov/etv/